Cowboys Stadium is finally ready for the Super Bowl, thanks to a massive data centre and infrastructure upgrades. Here’s how Big D plans to take on the big game.
After several years in the making, the Dallas Cowboys’ $US1.1 billion football stadium is finally ready for its worldwide close-up Sunday night, when the Green Bay Packers take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
Pete Walsh, the Dallas Cowboys' head of technology, gave Wired.com a sneak peek at the preparations and effort going into Sunday's game, which will cater to more than 100,000 fans inside the stadium as well as hundreds of millions watching on TV around the world. To that end, Cowboys Stadium (which opened less than two years ago) has fashioned a 465sqm data centre, built with the help of HP and the team's IT staff.
"When we started this process back in 2004, we were able to meet with different vendors and see their road maps for where technology was going to be in five or more years," Walsh told Wired.com, "so we were able to take advantage of where technology was going to be, rather than where it was."
One of the largest pieces to fall into place was enhancing the stadium's cell signals. Every major US carrier, including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and Metro PCS, is providing extra signal power so there's no downtime for fans. Everyone in attendance will also have free Wi-Fi.
"Essentially, every event we've had here the last two years has been a dress rehearsal for the next event," Walsh said. In addition to hosting Cowboys games, the stadium has been witness to large-scale concerts, college football bowl games and the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, which drew more than 108,713 fans. Officials expect Sunday's Super Bowl to be the third-largest game in the stadium's brief history, behind that All-Star Game and the inaugural Cowboys game from Opening Day 2009 - which drew 105,121.
And, of course, this being the first Super Bowl since the introduction of the iPad, fans can not only bring along their favourite Apple-made tablet - the NFL assured Wired.com there will be no restrictions on bringing the device into the stadium - but they can also use the NFL's official Super Bowl app, which features virtual 3-D navigation of Cowboys Stadium, as well as a facilities guide that may prove useful for those not wanting to waste a nanosecond searching out the nearest beer stand.
Photo: bignestegg/Flickr, CC